Zooplankton of the Gulf of California after the 1982-1983 El Nino Event: Biomass Distribution and Abundance

Lavaniegos-Espejo, Bertha E.
Lara-Lara, J Ruben
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University of Hawaii Press
From 23 March to 7 April 1984, we studied the responses of zooplankton populations to the 1982-1983 El Nino event in the Gulf of California. Twenty six stations were sampled for zooplankton distribution and abundance. Mean displacement volume was 388 cm3/lOOO m3 , a value higher than biomass values reported for the California Current and the eastern tropical Pacific. Maximum values (up to 60 mg/m3 of dry weight) were registered on the eastern shore of the gulf. At other stations biomass values ranged from 11.2 to 39.2 mg/m3 . No significant differences were observed in the mean biomass of the central gulf between spring 1983 and spring 1984. However, biomass increased in the southern gulf during spring 1984. Mean total abundance of zooplankton was 13% higher than in 1983. Coastal stations registered up to 31% of the total abundance. Copepods and cladocerans represented over 65% of mean total abundance and community structure differed from that in 1983: there were more copepods, euphausiids, tunicates, and siphonophores in 1984, and fewer cladocerans, ostracods, and red crabs (Pleuroncodes planipes). Similarity analysis showed two main assemblages: one in the central gulf (temperate zone), the other near the mouth (tropical zone). These two regions correspond to zones with different physical and primary production characteristics. The different responses seen in the central and southern gulf may reflect phytoplankton biomass and primary productivity dynamics. The El Nino event reduced the biomass in the southern part of the gulf, although the entire gulf in 1983 and 1984 showed higher biomass values than other eastern Pacific systems. Year-to-year differences may be less important than seasonal changes. The EI Nino phenomenon mainly affected the relative abundances of different taxa.
Lavaniegos-Espejo BE, Lara-Lara JR. 1990. Zooplankton of the Gulf of California after the 1982-1983 El Nino event: biomass distribution and abundance. Pac Sci 44(3): 297-310.
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